Tuesday, July 26, 2011
SISTER MISCHIEF by Laura Goode
Esme, Tess, Rowie, and Marcy are typical high school juniors in most areas. They are good students with their eyes set on top-notch colleges. For the most part they don't give their parents any grief, and they keep their noses clean in school. However, they do have one passion and when school authorities declare that their one passion is no longer to be allowed at school, the girls rebel.
Holyhill High School is adding a new policy to its school conduct code, and each student is required to sign it. The new policy outlaws hip-hop music and any apparrel, or behavior associated with it. This has Esme and her friends seething.
The girls may not look like it, but they are hip-hop rappers to the core. They call themselves Sister Mischief, and they are good. Tess is the vocalist, Marcy provides the beat, and Esme and Rowie work together to create the rhymes. Hip-hop lets them express who they are. Tess used to hang out with the conservative Christian majority who populate the school district, but she stepped over to the hip-hop side when she began doubting her faith. Marcy's rhythm comes from her involvement in the high school band's drumline. Rowie is the daughter of two Indian doctors, and Esme lives with her artistic father and considers herself a true word nerd and a lesbian.
When news of the new anti-hip-hop policy reaches the girls, they all agree they will not be signing it. The real plan for rebellion comes when they are called to the principal's office about their refusal to sign the new code of conduct. As spokeswoman of the group, Esme announces they are starting a new school club devoted to the study of hip-hop music and the possibility of using it to create a positive view of sexuality especially regarding women. The principal agrees to a deal allowing them to hold their meetings in a location just off the school campus in return for their signatures on the new policy.
It is obvious that the school administration is not supportive of the girls' new group, and when they become a target for harassment, they are determined to retaliate. With the help of their growing membership and the behind-the-scenes support of a possible staff advisor, they are out to change the attitude of one of the most highly regarded high schools in the country.
In addition to their quest to have hip-hop recognized as an important musical genre, the girls are also learning very personal lessons about love, loyalty, and understanding. When Esme reveals to her friends that she is a lesbian, the relationships in the group go through changes that threaten the long-time friendships.
Author Laura Goode uses creative language and intense emotions to grab her readers and involve them in the girls' passion for their cause. The stresses of school, family issues, and self-discovery make it a book teens will surely relate to.